Thursday, April 30, 2009

28 Apr 2009, 2253 hrs IST, TNN

MANGALORE: Ongoing police operations against Left wing extremists in Malnad region received a shot in the arm with the arrest of 35 alleged Naxal
supporters in the run up to the elections in the area on April 30.

Of these 35 persons, five, according to Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Western Range) Gopal B Hosur, have reportedly confessed to their direct involvement in two incidents involving Naxalites.

Hosur, also the commander of Anti-Naxal Force (ANF), told reporters here on Tuesday that the arrests are the results of comprehensive review of 100 cases involving Naxalites in the state since 2002. "Few persons had gone missing, some cases were under investigation, and in various stages," Hosur said and added all these were handed over to a special investigation team, whose meticulous work has resulted in this development.

Hosur said 30 of those arrested were nabbed for providing logistical and financial support to the Naxalites. Of the remaining five, three are involved in serial improvised explosive devise (IED) blast at Mathohalli in Sringeri police station limits, and other two for murdering a person on charges of being an informant at Odeyaramath in Jayapura PS limits in Chikmagalur. The arrest of the first three is more significant, Hosur stated.

Checks for IEDs, landmines

Asserting that necessary bandobast arrangements have been made to ensure peaceful conduct of polls in 81 villages spread across eight taluks and encompassing 20 police station limits with acknowledged Naxal presence, Hosur said 15 police personnel will be posted to each of the 162 polling stations in this region. "These 15 policemen, suitably armed will be drawn from civil, DAR, KSRP and central paramilitary forces," he said.

Around 40 to 50 policemen each in 30 police camps have begun area domination exercise by occupying vantage points, he said. The routes being taken by the election staff and policemen to reach the polling station are being `sanitized' on a regular basis to ensure that they are free from IEDs and landmines. Thermal imaging cameras too are being used at night to check for any suspicious movements in the forest terrains, he noted.

Poll disruption will be crushed

There are an estimated 1-lakh voters in the above-mentioned areas, he said and added the central paramilitary forces have conducted a recce of the area for area familiarization. Personnel adept at ambush and counter assault have been specially drafted in to the ANF, he said and assured voters that the police is more determined than ever to ensure that even the slightest attempt to disrupt polling in the Naxal-affected areas is put down.

Naxals free to surrender

Any Naxalite(s) wanting to surrender is free to do so, but legal process against them, if any will not be stopped, DIGP said. "If convicted, such Naxalites will have to undergo imprisonment as decided by the court," Hosur said. Nazeer, one of those nabbed recently by Chikmagalur police with cache of explosives is not only a Naxal sympathiser, but was attempting to recruit girls in to the Left wing extremist movement.

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